Congestion in Delhi may force Vistara to look for a second airport hub

Tadashi Fujita, EVP, Japan Airlines and Phee Teik Yeoh, CEO, Vistara at a MoU Singing For Commercial Cooperation in New Delhi. Sanjay K Sharma
With a mega aircraft order in the pipeline, full-service carrier Vistara is likely to develop a new hub beyond Delhi airport. It may develop Bengaluru as its second base for overnight parking.

Its inability to secure night parking bays in the capacity-constrained Mumbai airport and to grow its business outside Delhi and Mumbai are said to be the major reasons behind the move. “We will certainly develop a second hub but only after reaching a scale. Currently, with 16 aircraft, we don’t need a new hub,” chief executive officer Phee Teik Yeoh said in respond to a query from Business Standard.

Capacity of Delhi Airport is almost exhausted. Delhi International Airport Limited, which operates the airport, plans to invest Rs 16,000 crore in order to undertake major expansion plans that will increase the capacity of domestic terminal T1, and of international terminal T3. And, also to lay a new runway, and build a new terminal over the next seven years. Bengaluru airport is the third-busiest in the country after Delhi and Mumbai, with about 210 daily domestic departures.

Vistara has charted aggressive expansion plans and is likely to place a 100 aircraft order — a mix of both narrow and wide body aircrafts. It has advanced the delivery schedule of its 20th aircraft from June 2018 to March.

“We will get our 20th plane by March 2018 and will have 22 aircraft including nine A320neo by June 2018,” Yeoh said. 20 aircraft is mandatory under the rules for Vistara to become eligible to fly abroad.

The airline has also finalised plans of a wide-body order which it will use to operate in the long-haul destinations such as London or US’ east coast.

The company’s chief commercial officer Sanjiv Kapoor said that the airline will initially operate to destinations which are in the range of A320 — mainly cities in the Gulf which are at a four hour distance from New Delhi. The airline on Thursday entered into a code-share agreement with Japan Airlines. And already has a similar partnership with parent Singapore Airlines and SilkAir.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel